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Insects are arguably the most successful group on planet Earth, residing year-around on all seven continents and comprising over half of all scientifically described species. Ants and termites alone make up roughly 33% of Earth’s terrestrial biomass, and there are over 500,000 known species of beetle. Cornell entomologists study evolutionary adaptation of insects to the varied environments that they inhabit, the critical role that pervasive and diverse insects play in natural ecological systems, and behavioral attributes that allow insects to so thrive.

Particular areas of strength at Cornell include insect-plant interactions and chemical ecology, insect-microbe interactions, speciation, phylogenetics and systematics and behavioral ecology. The Cornell University Insect Collection is the largest academic collection of insect specimens in the world, housing over 7 million specimens representing roughly 200,000 species.

Field Faculty in the Area

The following faculty are active in research areas of Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, and Behavior.

  • Anurag Agrawal (Insect-plant interactions, evolutionary ecology, coevolution)
  • Bryan N. Danforth (Phylogeny, morphology, & molecular systematics of bees, behavioral ecology and sociobiology of bees)
  • Jason Dombroskie (Systematics of microlepidoptera, especially the Tortricidae; Development of matrix based keys)
  • Cole Gilbert (Insect physiology, insect behavior, arthropod neuroethology)
  • Ann E. Hajek (Invertebrate pathology, biological control and population ecology)
  • Laura C. Harrington (Medical and veterinary entomology, global health, vector borne disease, mosquito biology and ecology, climate change)
  • Georg Jander (Plant-insect interactions and plant amino acid metabolism)
  • Andre Kessler (Molecular and chemical ecology; plant-insect interactions; multitrophic interactions; insect herbivore-induced plant responses to herbivory; mechanisms and ecological consequences)
  • Brian P. Lazzaro (Evolutionary genetics of insect immune systems and insect-pathogen interactions)
  • Greg Loeb (Plant-insect interactions, integrated pest management, small fruit entomology, insect ecology)
  • Scott McArt (Insect ecology, Chemical ecology, Pollination ecology, Plant‑animal‑pathogen interactions)
  • John E. Losey (Integrated pest management, agroecology, biological control, insect conservation biology)
  • Corrie Moreau (Phylogeny and evolution of ants and their gut-associated microbes; macroevolution; systematics; biogeography; biodiversity genomics; symbiosis
  • Courtney Murdock (Ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, vector-borne disease transmission, vector-pathogen interactions, medical entomology, statistical and mechanistic modeling)
  • Brian Nault (Insect ecology, vegetable insect pest management, landscape ecology, epidemiology and management)
  • Jan P. Nyrop (Insect population ecology, biological control, pest risk assessment and crop protection decision making)
  • Katja Poveda (Plant-insect interactions, agroecology, diversification practices, landscape ecology)
  • Alison G. (Sunny) Power (Insect ecology, IPM, biological control, insect behavior)
  • Robert Raguso (Chemical communication between flowers & pollinators; floral chemistry; insect behavior sensory systems)
  • Linda S. Rayor (Behavioral ecology, arachnology, sociality, predation)
  • Robert D. Reed (Evolution of development)
  • Jeff Scott (Evolutionary biology of insecticide resistance)
  • Kerry L. Shaw (Speciation, auditory cues in mating)
  • Jennifer S. Thaler (Insect ecology, insect-plant interactions, and tritrophic interactions)
  • Kyle Wickings (soil arthropod ecology, soil biogeochemistry, turfgrass entomology)